- Do you like seeking the best possible value in goods and services for your company or organization?
- Do you have a broad knowledge of the current construction market – availability, pricing and timeframe?
- Can you review contracts and specifications to determine company commitments and obligations?
- Do you have strong coordination and time management skills?
- Are you an effective negotiator with good interpersonal skills?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Buyer/Purchasing Agent could be right for you.
Buyers and purchasing agents purchase general and specialized equipment, materials and subcontractor services for construction projects. They are employed by project owners, project designers and engineers, and by general contractors. In smaller organizations buyers/purchasing agents may also perform other tasks.
Buyers and purchasing agents perform the following types of activities:
- Plan, schedule and forecast procurement activities
- Purchase general and specialized equipment, materials and subcontractor services for construction projects
- Review plans, specifications and contracts to ensure the correct equipment, material and subcontractor services are ordered and/or purchased
- Invite tenders, consult with suppliers and review quotations
- Determine or negotiate contract terms and conditions, award supplier contracts or recommend contract awards
- Attend trade shows to research current product and service information
In most cases buyers and purchasing agents work in offices. On large construction projects they may work out of site-offices. Either way, they will probably spend some time on-site making sure that equipment and materials are correct.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. While on construction or other job sites, buyers and purchasing agents must be aware of and comply with all relevant safety policy and procedures.
Training and Certification
The Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) is a good source of information on courses and training providers for this occupation. PMAC also awards the Certified Professional Purchaser (CPP) designation to buyers and purchasing agents who meet their certification requirements. For more information, visit www.pmac.ca.
- A bachelor's degree or college diploma in business administration, commerce or economics may be required.
- Many employers who advertise are looking for buyers and/or purchasing agents with three to five years experience.
- Purchasing agents and officers purchasing specialized materials or business services may require a related university degree or college diploma. For example, a bachelor's degree or college diploma in engineering may be required for purchasers of industrial products.
- A certificate in purchasing from the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) may be required.
- Experience in the construction industry is beneficial.